Dana Wynter (8 June 1931 – 5 May 2011) was a German-born English actress, who was brought up in Britain and Southern Africa. She appeared in film and television for more than forty years, beginning in the 1950s with her best known film being Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). A tall, dark beauty, she played both victim and villain. Her characters sometimes faced horrific dangers, both in film and on television, which they often did not survive. But she also played scheming, manipulative women on television mysteries and crime drama procedurals.
Wynter in 1962
8 June 1931|
|Died||5 May 2011
Ojai, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Congestive heart failure|
|Spouse(s)||Greg Bautzer (1956–1981; divorced)|
Wynter was born as Dagmar Winter in Berlin, Germany and the daughter of Dr. Peter Wynter (né Winter), a British surgeon, and his wife, Jutta (née Oarda), a native of Hungary. She grew up in Britain. When she was sixteen years old, her father went to Morocco to operate on a woman who would not allow anyone else to attend to her. He visited friends in Southern Rhodesia, fell in love with it, and brought his daughter and her stepmother to live with him there.
Dana Wynter (as she called herself and pronounced as Donna) later enrolled at South Africa's Rhodes University (the only female student in a class of 150) and dabbled in theatre, playing the blind girl in a school production of Through a Glass Darkly, in which she claimed to be "terrible". After more than a year of studies, she returned to Britain, dropped her medical studies and turned to acting.
Wynter began her cinema career at 21 in 1951, playing small roles, often uncredited, in British films. One such was Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951) in which other future leading ladies, Kay Kendall, Diana Dors and Joan Collins played similarly small roles. She was appearing in the play Hammersmith when an American agent told her he wanted to represent her. She was again uncredited when she played Morgan Le Fay's servant in the MGM film Knights of the Round Table (1953). Wynter left for New York on 5 November 1953, Guy Fawkes Day (which commemorates a failed attempt in 1605 to blow up the old House of Lords). "There were all sorts of fireworks going off", she later told an interviewer, "and I couldn't help thinking it was a fitting send-off for my departure to the New World."
Wynter had more success in New York than in London. She appeared on the stage and on TV, where she had leading roles in Robert Montgomery Presents (1953), Suspense (1954), Studio One (1955), a 1963 episode of The Virginian ("If You Have Tears"), and a 1965 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour ("An Unlocked Window"), which won an Edgar Award.
She moved to Hollywood where, in 1955, she was placed under contract by 20th Century Fox. In that same year, she won the Golden Globe award for Most Promising Newcomer, a title she shared with Anita Ekberg and Victoria Shaw. She graduated to playing major roles in major films. She co-starred with Kevin McCarthy, Larry Gates and Carolyn Jones, playing Becky Driscoll in the original film version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
She starred opposite Robert Taylor in D-Day the Sixth of June (1956), alongside Rock Hudson and Sidney Poitier in Something of Value (1957), Mel Ferrer in Fräulein (1958), Robert Wagner in In Love and War (1958), James Cagney and Don Murray in Shake Hands with the Devil (1959) and the last of her 20th Century Fox contract roles opposite Kenneth More in Sink the Bismarck! (1960). She then starred opposite Danny Kaye in On the Double (1961), and George C. Scott in The List of Adrian Messenger (1963).
In shooting two films in Ireland, she made a second home there with her husband, Hollywood divorce lawyer Greg Bautzer. Over the following two decades, she guest-starred in dozens of television series and in occasional cameo roles in films such as Airport (1970). She appeared as various British women in the ABC television series Twelve O'Clock High (1964–66). In 1966–67, she co-starred with Robert Lansing (who had been the original star of Twelve O'Clock High) on The Man Who Never Was, but the series lasted only one season. She guest-starred in 1968 in The Invaders in the episode "The Captive", and, in 1969, on the second version of The Donald O'Connor Show. On Get Smart, The Rockford Files and Hart to Hart, she played beautiful upper-class schemers and villains.
In 1956, Wynter married celebrity attorney Greg Bautzer; they divorced in 1981. She and Bautzer had one child — Mark Ragan Bautzer, born on 29 January 1960. Wynter, once referred to as Hollywood's "oasis of elegance," divided her time between her homes in California and Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland. An anti-apartheid advocate, she refused to open a performance centre because she discovered that black and white children would have to attend on alternate days. She also planned to make a film criticising the policy, which was to have been written by an American and filmed in Australia.
In the late 1980s, Wynter authored the column "Grassroots" for the newspaper The Guardian in London. Writing in both Ireland and California, her works concentrated mainly on life in both locations leading her to use the titles Irish Eyes and California Eyes for a number of her publications.
July 2008 saw Wynter involved in a legal dispute over the proceeds of the sale of a €125,000 Paul Henry painting, Evening on Achill Sound. The painting, which hung in the family home in County Wicklow, was said to have been bought for her in 1996 by her son, Mark Bautzer, as a gift. The dispute was resolved in the High Court in 2009.
Dana Wynter died on 5 May 2011 from congestive heart failure at the Ojai Valley Community Hospital's Continuing Care Center; she was 79 years old. She had suffered from heart disease in later years, and was transferred from the hospital's intensive care unit earlier in the day. Her son Mark said she was not expected to survive, and "she stepped off the bus very peacefully."
Selected television and filmographyEdit
|1951||Night Without Stars||Casino Patron||Uncredited|
|1951||White Corridors||Marjorie Brewster|
|1951||Lady Godiva Rides Again||Myrtle Shaw|
|1952||The Woman's Angle||Elaine||Credited as Dagmar Wynter|
|1952||The Crimson Pirate||Baron Gruda's travelling companion||Credited as Dagmar Wynter|
|1952||It Started in Paradise||Barbara, the model||Credited as Dagmar Wynter|
|1953||Knights of the Round Table||Morgan Le Fay's Servant||Uncredited|
|1955||The View from Pompey's Head||Dinah Blackford Higgins|
|1956||Invasion of the Body Snatchers||Becky Driscoll|
|1956||D-Day the Sixth of June||Valerie Russell|
|1957||Something of Value||Peter's Betrothed – Holly|
|1958||In Love and War||Sue Trumbell|
|1959||Shake Hands with the Devil||Jennifer Curtis|
|1960||Sink the Bismarck!||Second Officer Anne Davis|
|1961||On the Double||Lady Margaret MacKenzie-Smith|
|1961||Wagon Train||Lizabeth Ann Calhoun||Episode: "The Lizabeth Ann Calhoun Story"|
|1962||The Dick Powell Show||Barbara Bellamore||Episode: "The Great Anatole"|
|1962||Wagon Train||Lisa Raincloud||Episode: "The Lisa Raincloud Story"|
|1963||The Virginian||Leona Kelland||Episode: "If You Have Tears"|
|1963||The List of Adrian Messenger||Lady Jocelyn Bruttenholm|
|1964||Twelve O'Clock High||Ann Mcrae||Episode: "Interlude"|
|1965||The Alfred Hitchcock Hour||Stella||Episode: "An Unlocked Window"|
|1965||The Wild Wild West||Lady Beatrice Marquand-Gaynesford||Episode: "23 – The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo"|
|1966||My Three Sons||Maggie||Episode: "From Maggie with Love "|
|1966 to 1967||The Man Who Never Was||Eva Wainwright||18 episodes|
|1967||Dundee and the Culhane||Martha||1 episode, "The Widow's Weeds Brief"|
|1968||The Invaders||Dr. Katherina Serret||1 episode, "The Captive"|
|1968||If He Hollers, Let Him Go!||Ellen Whitlock|
|1968||Companions in Nightmare||Julie Klanton||Television film|
|1969||Get Smart||Ann Cameron||Episode: " Widow Often Annie"|
|1971||Marcus Welby, M.D.||Julie Croft||Episode: "False Spring"|
|1972||Hawaii Five-O||Claudine||Episode: "The Ninety Second War: Part One"|
|1975||Le Sauvage||Jessie Coutances|
|1975||The Lives of Jenny Dolan||Andrea Hardesty||Television film|
|1978 to 1982||Bracken||Jill Daly||5 episodes|
|1979||Backstairs at the White House||Mrs. Colgate||Miniseries|
|1979||The Rockford Files||Princess Irene Rachevsky||Episode: "Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs"|
|1981||Magnum, PI||Lydia Ross||Episode: "Double Jeopardy"|
|1982||The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana||Queen Elizabeth II||Television film|
|1982||Magnum, PI||Velma Troubshaw||Episode: "Foiled Again"|
|1993||The Return of Ironside||Katherine Ironside||Television film, (final film role)|
|1981||"Hart to Hart"||Silvia Van Upton||Episode: "Ex-wives Can Be Murder"|
|1956||Golden Globes – Most Promising Newcomer – Female||Won with Anita Ekberg and Victoria Shaw|
- "Dana Wynter". The Telegraph. London. 9 May 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
- Thursby, Keith (8 May 2011). "Dana Wynter dies at 80; actress in 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
- Some sources indicate she was born Dagmar Spencer-Marcus
- Weaver, Tom (2001). I Was a Monster Movie Maker. McFarland. p. 294. ISBN 978-0-7864-1000-2.
- Dana Wynter profile at FilmReference.com
- "Internet Movie Database". Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Dana Wynter on IMDb
- Dana Wynter on IMDb
- Sydney Morning Herald, 9 June 1971
- Dana Wynter, "Grassroots: The pheasant who came to dinner,",The Guardian (London), 25 January 1986
- "Poor little shepherd who's lost his way ... baa baa baa" The Guardian (London), 14 November 1987.
- "Going west/Dana Wynter who has lived in California for 25 years, finds the place a nightmare", The Guardian (London), 12 January 1989.
- "Former Hollywood star takes case in dispute over painting", The Irish Times (Dublin), 10 July 2008
- "Dispute between Killybegs businessman and Hollywood actress settled", Donegal Democrat, 16 July 2009.
- , Ojai Valley News Blog
- Awards for Dana Wynter on IMDb